On Friday I visited the open day of Holland Park Mosque as part of a big year challenge. It was quite interesting and the people there were friendly, accommodating and articulate. In fact the leader of the Mosque (not the Imam) would have communicated as well as Michael Frost and was very passionate in his main message which was, ‘we are completely love, peace and security. The rest of it is all geopolitical tensions’.
I would like to ask you all a quick question.
If I asked you right now to spend 3mins telling me what you know about what Muslims believe, practice and what motivates them, what would you say?
I realise that to my shame, I know absolutely nothing about what Muslims believe, the Quran or their practices, other than vague opinions that I have formed from listening to the media, an Imam I heard speak at the Qld Servant Leadership Forum and my friend Dave Andrews. (None of which said much about the actual belief system, they simply presented a defence of the need for tolerance in regard to welcoming and accepting the actual people, which is something I applaud). I realise that my view is more based in ‘what I hope they are like’ and ‘what Dave Andrews tells me they are like’ more than in any studied or considered facts about ‘what Islam is really about’.
There is absolutely no doubt that Muslim people are in the main beautiful people and there are many points of common ground that we need to embrace, but I must admit that I have a sinking feeling that we also have some considerable differences in our worldview that need to be understood and named in a mature way. I am also not sure that the average Christians who are taking to Facebook, (both in support and resistance), have any real knowledge at all about Islam, political impulses or the underlying drivers of these current conflicts. I know I certainly don’t.
Maybe it is time for me to actually educate myself thoroughly, particularly so that in a missional sense we know what to embrace and what to hold our ground on. What is good news for these people? And how can we as Christians engage meaningfully and lovingly for the sake of ourselves, our Muslim friends and the wider community.
One opportunity to find out more is to head out to Kuraby Mosque for their upcoming open day.
Or check out our resource post here on the PCR website.